This is my second attempt at a read-along, occuring conveniently within the same time frame as my first attempt! This one is a bit different, though, as here I’m reading a whole novel rather than short stories, and there are set questions to answer rather than me just going on about things. So if you’re not reading along with me, this might not make a lot of sense. I promise I’ll do a regular review post after I’m done with the whole thing!
1. This may seem like an obvious opening question, but what do you think of The Lantern thus far? Oh, hey, just kidding about not going on about things. 🙂 I was iffy at first, with the odd prologue and the boring girl-meets-boy bits in the early chapters, but once Our Narrator and Dom get out to the house, and once Our Other Narrator starts talking about her creep-tastic brother, I was like, please, tell me more! I’m glad this book is broken up into parts, because without the sort-of denoument of the second part, I might still be reading the book instead of answering these questions!
2. The book appears to be following the experiences of two different women, alternating back and forth between their stories. Are you more fond of our main protagonist’s story or of Benedicte’s or are you enjoying them both equally? Which do I like more? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm… I’m not terribly interested in Our Narrator, though I am intrigued by her investigation into Dom’s ex and am hoping to hear more of those fairy tales she found soon. I’m also not terribly interested in Our Other Narrator, Bénédicte, as much as I am interested in her brother Pierre and his interests, namely his homicidal tendencies. I’m sensing that they will come into play later. I suppose if I had to pick one narrator for the rest of the novel, I would at this point choose to stay with Our Narrator, because I like investigation more than dead cats.
3. The Lantern is a book filled with descriptions of scents. How are you liking (or disliking) that aspect of the book? How do you feel about the lavish description of scents? How are the short chapters working for you? I’m not really noticing the scent descriptions as being overly lavish, but I suppose that after the sensory love-fest of The Night Circus I’m almost expecting it! As for the short chapters, I was put off by them at first but now I really think they work well to keep up the suspense of both narratives and allow Lawrenson to easily skip around in time.
4. How would you describe the atmosphere of Parts 1 and 2 of The Lantern? Um, mildly spooky? It’s all about that decrepit house, isn’t it? Even the things that would normally be completely innocuous are coming across as tinged with spookiness if they happened anywhere near that house. And all the secret-keeping helps, too!
5. Has anything surprised you to this point? Anything stand out? I was rather surprised by Bénédicte’s father bricking Bénédicte and her brother into that room. That is a parenting technique I’ve never heard of before. And the fact that Pierre knew what was happening… I think there’s plenty more to come from Bénédicte’s narrative. I also want to know more about this pineapple.
6. What are your feelings about Dom in these first two sections of the story? I really don’t know how to feel about him. Sure, he’s being intensely secretive, but only being able to see it from Our Narrator’s point of view, I wonder if he’s really being that terrible. Certainly Our Narrator recognizes that she’s gone a bit off the deep end in mistrusting him. I think that perhaps he is fueling her neurosis a bit by not even throwing her a scrap of information, but considering my fears that there’s only bad information there, I can’t yet blame him.
Bonus question: Did anyone else hear “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” ringing in their ears through the first sections of the book? Okay, I get it, I’ll get around to reading Rebecca. Someday. Maybe.